The study examined the implementation of School Based Assessment in KEEA district in Central Region. The quota sampling procedure was used to select 200 basic school teachers in ten basic schools for the study. Five research questions and three hypotheses guided the study. Questionnaire was used for data collection for the study. The Cronbach’s coefficient alpha for the questionnaire was 0.85. The results showed that to a great extent, teachers agreed that, they have knowledge about School Based Assessment in carrying out periodic intervals for the purpose of improving the overall performance of students. Teachers also reported positive attitude towards the application of School Based Assessment guidelines in schools. It was found that no significant difference existed among the length of service of teachers with respects to the application of SBA. It is recommended that public senior high school teachers are given timely in-service training in order to be abreast with contemporary issues on SBA such as the tasks involved it. Additionally, periodical in-service training and workshops be given to teachers even though they have positive attitude towards the application of SBA guidelines. Furthermore, Ghana Education Service and stakeholders should allocate funds for workshops, seminars for teachers on challenges of SBA.

The quality of teaching and learning processes in educational institutions is premised on assessment. Assessment helps management, administrators and teachers in academic institutions to take appropriate decisions that would benefit individuals in such institutions. School Based Assessment is designed to provide schools with an internal assessment system that will help schools to achieve standards in achievement in subject area. However, the introduction of SBA has led to several changes in the classroom. Previously, in Continuous Assessment system, the total class score was 30% but in the SBA, it is 50% hence the study examined the efficacy, influence and challenges of the SBA.

Background to the Study
Teaching and learning are highly interwoven processes in which their effectiveness depends on each another. Assessment informs how well the students learn and how well the instructor is teaching. Some of the major purposes of assessment include examining students learning, identifying students’ strengths and weaknesses, assessing the effectiveness of a particular strategy, examining and improving the effectiveness of curriculum programmes, assessing and improving teaching effectiveness, providing data that assist decision making and communicating with and involving stakeholders (Zeleke, 2010).

Assessment occurs when one person through some kind of interaction with another, obtains and interprets information about that other person in terms of his/her knowledge and understanding, ability or attitude (Rowntree, 1987). Assessment in education refers to the process of obtaining information that is used for making decisions about students, curricula, programmes and educational policy (Amedahe, 2003). The most common means by which teachers attempt to assess their students are tests and examinations. Other ways by which students can be assessed include questioning them in class, observing them in action, interviewing them, giving quizzes, using systematic techniques and rating scales.

Assessment is the systematic collection, review and use of information about educational programmes to improve students’ learning. Assessment focuses on what students know, what they are able to do, and what values they have when they graduate (Kelly, 2004). Assessment is concerned with the collective impact of a programme on student learning. Mzokwana (2008) holds the view that the assessment programme ought to be able to meet diagnostic problems during which learning difficulties may be inspected and classified so that proper corrective measures can be used and direction can be provided. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA, 2004) explains that assessment is integral to teaching and learning as it relates to all aspects of the curriculum and encompasses the cognitive and affective domains and can play a critical role in the early identification of learning difficulties. This means that assessment makes it necessary for schools to implement procedures both at school and classroom levels for recording and reporting assessment outcomes.

Assessment may generally be used for formative or summative purposes. Formative assessment, is designed to help the teacher to make effective teaching and learning decisions throughout the period of teaching. It provides continuous information or feedback to the teacher as well as to the student about their respective performances in teaching and learning. The information is then used for improving the quality of instruction. Formative assessment is also concerned with identifying the capabilities or strengths and weaknesses of pupils. Formative assessment uses a variety of assessment formats. The appropriateness of a format depends on the nature of the tasks to be performed and the age of the pupils. Some of these formats include checklists, portfolio, projects, individual and group presentations, short tests and quizzes (Zeleke, 2010). Under formative assessment, positive achievement of students is recognized and discussed and the appropriate next step are planned and finally, summative, for the recording of the overall achievement of students in an orderly manner.

The summative type of assessment involves an overall assessment or decision concerning the worth of an educational programme. This summative description, however, could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes, school improvement goals, alignment of curriculum, or student placement in specific programmmes (Garrison & Ehringhaus, 2007). Summative assessments which are conducted at a particular point in time, usually at the end of a course, or a programme, provide information that can be used during the teaching and learning process.

Assessment can be terminal that is summative or continuous. Assessment is terminal when the person doing the assessment waits until the end of an instruction, a course, term or year before gathering information on the learner as his/her achievement. This type of assessment was practiced in Ghana before the introduction of educational reforms in the mid1980s (Amedahe, 1991).

Summative assessment was found to be inherent with a number of problems. Some of the problems listed by Miller, Linn and Gronlund (2009) are:

Test anxiety; test anxiety was so great that it interferes with test performance.

Lack of provision of feedback and remediation needed to improve students’ weakness.

Creating self-fulfilling prophecies; test score creates teacher expectations concerning the achievements of individual students which force teachers to teach in accordance with those expectations for students to respond to their expected level.

Due to the problems encountered by the use of terminal assessment, continuous assessment was introduced into the Ghanaian educational system in 1987. Continuous assessment is the type of assessment, which takes place in more or less systematic form throughout a course (Amedahe, 1991). It involves taking into account a learner’s performance over the whole period of study on a course of education in a variety of ways and situations in determining the final grade. The prefix continuous as applied here appears to be a misnomer in that it is impossible to assess all students all the time without a break (Rowntree, 1987). Rather the term continuous refers to the frequency of assessment as compared to terminal assessment, which occurs mainly at the end of a course or term or year as the case may be.

Nitko (2004) described continuous assessment as an ongoing process of gathering and interpreting information about student learning that is used in making decisions about what to teach and how well students have learned. Nitko highlighted some merits of continuous assessment as follows:

It promotes frequent interactions between pupils and teachers to know the strengths and weaknesses of learners and to identify which students need reviews and remediation.

Pupils receive feedback from teachers based on performance that allows them to focus on topics they have not yet mastered.

Airasian’s (1991) definition stressed that teachers who use continuous assessment should use a variety of data collection instruments and methods which in turn help them to interpret the synthesis information about learners. Moreover, the information collected from the continuous assessment helps teachers to plan and monitor the different components of the teaching and learning processes. Continuous assessment is not simply continuous testing. Continuous assessment does not solely depend on formal tests. Continuous assessment is more than giving a tests. It involves every decision made by the teacher in class to improve student’s achievement.

The assessment of students’ learning in the classroom is an integrated component of the teaching and learning processes and continuous assessment is subjective, informal, immediate, ongoing and intuitive. The teacher’s role is to determine student’s current level of knowledge, skill, or understanding, diagnose problems that students may be encountering, make decisions about instructional steps and, evaluate the learning that is taking place in and outside the classroom.

Continuous assessment (CA), also known as progressive assessment or assessment for learning involves testing to measure pupil achievement at regular intervals in order to ascertain the level of learning so that appropriate remediation can be provided as the need may arise (Onuka & Durowoju, 2013). In other words, it offers a methodology for measuring students’ performances and using the resulting findings to improve the students’ future performance. Continuous assessment, according to Adeoye (2010), is a system of assessment which is carried out at pre-determined intervals for the purpose of monitoring and improving the overall performance of students and of the teaching/learning environment.

The introduction of CA into the education system by West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) member countries almost three decades ago helped the education system in Ghana. The CA was structured such that teachers knew their clearly defined roles and responsibilities when it comes to assessing students. However, some educators and researchers recognized and identified some challenges associated with this implementation. For instance, Quansah (2005) described the CA system as being essentially based on only frequent test taking.

In similar studies, WAEC (1993) examiners’ report discovered that teachers appeared to be more generous in the award of marks to their students. In most cases, students had more marks in the CA than their achieved marks in the external examination in all subjects investigated. It was also observed that CA scores were usually clustered together with the teacher manifesting a conscious effort to make each student getting closer to the maximum mark. These findings raised concerns on the credibility of the CA and those concerns informed the decision to reduce the weighting of CA from forty percent to thirty percent.

Etsey (1992) identified workload as a limitation of the CA system in Ghana. He further said that increased number of exercises increases the workload of teachers and this affects their output since they find it difficult to score all work given to students at the same time. Amedahe (1991) also reported that one of the complaints teachers gave was that there were variations in the approach to CA from school to school. Therefore, in order to reduce the workload of teachers and to bring uniformity in the processes and procedures of achieving it, CA was changed to School -Based Assessment (SBA).

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 127 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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